Marrying Context and Data for Superior Customer Experiences


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When it comes to delivering greater customer experiences in today’s digital economy, building relationships comes with more frequent, but shorter interactions. Customers have more access points than ever before to their service provider. They can interact via a company’s website or app, through phone calls, emails, texts, and via social media and chat. These kinds of interactions take less time than an in-person visit, but they happen much more frequently. They are also more superficial than in-person interactions, making it even more important to have each one count.

Companies need to take advantage of all of these touch points and interaction moments to provide real value. The only way to do this is to be relevant in ALL areas of messaging, timing, and to ensure these are relevant to the customers’ context.

But how does one become relevant? The first step is understanding who your customers are.

Contextual Relevance is Key

Customer data analytics are powerful. Companies today have access to layers upon layers of information about their customers, from location and age, to spending habits, to attrition tendencies, to product and communications preferences, to behavioral intelligence.

Consider a recent report from IDC which predicts that data creation will reach a total of 163 zettabytes by the year 2025, this is a ten-fold increase in worldwide data. Companies have so much data at their fingertips, but unless that information is channelized and used effectively, it’s useless.

Contextual relevance is the most important factor in extracting value from data. Understanding human behavior, but not being able to apply it to common-day context, such as where someone is or what were their previous actions in the last hour, will only allow a company to better understand what has happened in the past. There is little value in living in the past, when a business’s value is counting on what happens in the now. This is especially true when considering a customer’s experience. If the content ignores a customer’s context, the brand’s marketing efforts will be futile, the needs of their customers will go unmet and customer relationships will diminish significantly.


So how does a company use their data to deliver relevance? The answer boils down to having actionable insights available at your fingertips. In order to leverage knowledge on the customer context, companies must move to a process which combines long-term historical insights with up-to-the-minute processing of real-time behavioral data. Companies must then use the enormous amount of existing user data to constantly create connected user experiences; as compared to those created by technology companies that are dependent on web traffic activity and information alone. Productively utilizing customer data allows a company to determine what a customer is most interested in, and to create a personalized experience where content, products and/or services are presented to customers before they even realize their needs. As customers’ expectations of their favorite brands increase, they have more of an affinity for those that offer more pertinent information, instruction and added convenience to their lives.

Companies also need to let marketers truly manage the conversation with the customer, both in- and outbound. Companies can do this by using their data to deliver the most relevant, timely and contextually-aware actions that match the needs of each and every individual customer. When a company or brand can execute on the insights gleaned, they’ll become transformative in the way they approach marketing.

Completing the Customer Journey

By leveraging the context found in data, brands can provide customers with an optimized experience that is more relevant and consistent across all channels. Personalized service can be adapted to their present needs and interests, and tied to the complete customer context – their location, most recent purchases, complaints, etc. For a company, the value of customer data can be about optimum marketing results, with more precise targeting, more connected experiences and increased campaign efficiency. This gives companies the ability to acquire the right customers, provide them with excellent service and products, and be more focused on which customers to retain, at what cost. The value of customer data is beneficial for both the customer and the service provider as they truly begin to operationalize insights on customer data and behavior.

How is your company optimizing the customer experience?

Luc Burgelman
Luc is a co-founder and CEO of NGDATA. Prior to NGDATA, he co-founded Porthus (EU, 2000), which delivered cloud-based solutions that IPO'd in 2006 and was acquired by Descartes Systems Group in 2010 (US/CA). At that time Luc became the EVP global marketing, product strategy and chairman of corporate planning office (US/CA).Through his experience in artificial intelligence (neural networks, large data processing, rule based systems, ...) he decided to join forces to create NGDATA. Luc holds a Master in Engineering and Information technology (UGent, BE) and Executive MBA (Antwerp, Kellog, IMD.)


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